Published on : Wednesday, November 27, 2013
ATEC has rejected claims by the Australian Council of Trade Union’s President that Australia’s Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa impacts negatively on youth employment opportunities, highlighting clear research showing its significant economic contribution.
“The evidence is clear, WHM’s create jobs in Australia, make an enormous economic contribution and are the lifeblood of many regional towns around the country,” ATEC Chairman, John King OAM said today.
“In ATEC’s position paper The Importance of the Working Holiday Visa, we showed that for each 100 WHM visitors to Australia, 6.3 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs are created – the notion that these visitors are taking jobs from young people is simply wrong.
“With current visitor numbers under the WHM program, this equates to around 11,000 FTE jobs in Australia.
“These visitors are only able to work for short periods of time with one employer and often help fill un-skilled and semi-skilled roles in peak periods, not long-term career positions.”
Mr King said the ATEC position paper had outlined significant consumption and spending the WHM undertakes while in Australia, staying around 8 months on average and spending over $13,000 while they are here, in turn creating more jobs.
“The WHM program is a significant driving force in attracting backpackers to Australia and it allows them to fund their stay and to travel locally, thus contributing to Australia’s regional economies.
“ATEC has been strongly advocating for changes to the WHV that will allow these visitors to stay longer and, therefore, spend more and our position paper showed they contribute nearly $600 million to our goods and services spend annually.
“This message from the ACTU President, Ged Kearney, is simplistic and reactive failing to recognise the jobs that WHM create – jobs that would not be available in our economy if we were to erect more barriers.
“Australian tourism faces a hugely competitive international market and each visitor is a valuable contributor to our overall economic activity.
“I would encourage Ms Kearney to look beyond the rhetoric and consider the broader economy in her comments on the contribution these visitors make to Australia’s employment creation.”
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